Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has not lacked for criticism since he assumed the post in 2012, but harsh words about him in a speech by a prominent socialite and businessman are the talk of the town.
At a luncheon hosted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club Thursday, Sir David Tang Wing-cheung, best known as the founder of the Shanghai Tang fashion chain and the grandson of Tang Shiu-kin, one of Hong Kong’s greatest philanthropists, told the attendees the government led by Leung has brought governance of the city to a shameful state.
In a speech titled “The future of Hong Kong”, Tang said sarcastically that the first sentence of Leung’s “vacuous” 2016 Policy Address seemed to have been written by either a comedian or a monkey, Apple Daily reported Friday.
Leung failed to mention two important things — the pro-democracy “Umbrella movement” and political reform – but mentioned Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, which Tang said most Hongkongers do not understand and don’t care about, 48 times.
He said Leung was “a puppet with strings pulled by Beijing” and excoriated him for not daring to meet with protesting students in 2014, comparing him unfavorably with former premier Li Peng, who declared martial law but at least met students pressing for democracy amid the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.
A qualified leader should stand up to represent the people of Hong Kong and not yield easily to pressure from Beijing, Tang said.
For Hong Kong to make any progress, he said, the pan-democratic and pro-establishment legislators must overcome their mutual antipathy and sit down together, despite their differences, to find ways they can agree on to serve the interests of the people of Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, Tang said, it would be insane and stupid to think Shanghai can take over from Hong Kong, which by contrast to its rival has the “holy trinity” of a decent judicial system, uncorrupt community and real freedom.
He said the British government does not owe Hong Kong anything.
Tang said it left without taking one cent of Hong Kong’s US$3 trillion in reserves, and Chris Patten, the last colonial governor, left in place a system of politics that would allow Hong Kong people to administer Hong Kong.
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